The research program builds on a previous, $2.4M, 5 year NSERC/industry funded research program that successfully brought together a unique technical team of mechanical pulp producers, associated supplier industries, research institutes, universities, utilities and governments to develop and demonstrate the technical potential to reduce electrical energy by up to 900 kWh/t for newsprint grades and up to 50% for market grades depending on mill process and targets.
Phase II Themes and Objectives
Pulping is the process that transforms wood chips into separated and developed fibres suitable for pulp products. Nevertheless, most of the energy in mechanical pulping is transformed into heat and steam. Through process understanding and optimization, we aim to maximize the amount of energy that goes into fibre separation and fibre development. For this, we’ve broken down the process into what we have identified as key sub-processes in terms of energy:
Chip pretreatment though initial destructuring and chemical impregnation (Project 1.1)
Fibre separation though low energy processes (Project 1.2)
Fibre development through low consistency refining and fractionation (Project 1.3)
Optimization of chemical treatments and charge distribution through the pulping process (Project 1.4)
Optimal pulp pumping though the process (Project 2.3)
Advanced Sensors and Control
Developing the right equipment and operating conditions will not suffice unless we develop sensors and control strategies to run the process. We aim to develop an adaptive model predictive control algorithm that includes the sub-processes discussed in the first theme. The integration of the algorithm to the sub-processes will need the development of novel sensors. Thus for this theme we aim to:
Develop an adaptive model predictive control for the pulping process (Project 2.1)
Develop an LC refiner bar force sensor and bar force sensor based control strategies (Project 2.2)
Develop a pump performance sensor package integrated into a pump performance monitoring system (Project 2.3).
New Product Development
The quality targets around fibre properties and fibre development depend on the target pulp properties. Moreover, the target pulp properties change from the grade and type of pulp the mill is trying to achieve. For this theme we aim to find the dependence of key pulp properties on fibre properties for printing grades (Project 3.1) and for packaging grades (Project 3.2).
Integration with industry
In Phase II we aim to improve our relations with the program members and we always seek and welcome feedback. By engaging on a one-on-one basis, we determine how each partner will be involved and what they seek out of the program. We plan to assess the use of the developed technologies of Phase I (LCR chemical treatment, optimized pump impellers, refiner control strategies) to the mills as well as demonstrate energy saving potential and help implement energy saving solutions (ATMP, LCR, Chemical treatments) at participating mills in the program.